Tips for Betting on the NHL
While the NHL may not be the most heavily bet league in professional sports, it does offer some tremendous opportunities to boost your overall betting bankroll if you know where and how to look. The primary wager when it comes to betting on the NHL is a set money line for the favorite and the underdog. This betting line is then extended to a puck line where the favorite has to win by at least two goals to cash-in on a bet. Hockey also has a total line you can bet on for total goals scored with most “over/under” odds set at either 5 or 5.5.
While these three bets are pretty basic in nature, knowing when to pull the trigger on any one of them for a particular matchup is a matter of doing your proper handicapping homework. One of the first things you will want to do is find games where the starting goalies have already been announced. Betting on a hockey game where you are not sure which player will be in net for either team is just like betting on baseball without knowing the starting pitchers.
The goalie in hockey can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of any game no matter how heavy one team is favored over the other. It is very common to find an NHL box score where one team recorded far more shots on goal and still lost the game. If a goalie gets hot and starts stopping everything thrown their way, there is a good chance that their team will go on to win that game. At the other end of the spectrum, even the best goaltenders in the NHL have an off night from time to time, so you need to get a really good feel for their current form.
One handicapping strategy is to go back over their last four or five starts to compare their goals-against average during this time frame with their GAA on the year. The same handicapping exercise should be done for their save percentage as these are the two most important statistics to measure a goalies’ current form.
When it comes to handicapping a NHL team in general, current form is also a huge factor. The NHL regular season drags on for 82 grueling games. The postseason consists of heated best-of-seven series that are usually between teams that know each other very well until you would get to the Stanley Cup Semifinals and Final Round. Just like a goalie, every team has its hot and cold streaks. Predicting when a hot streak will end can be tough to do so betting on a hot team until they cool down can often tomes be a very viable strategy.
Fatigue is a big factor when it comes to hockey given the very physical nature of the game. This is especially true when a team is playing its third or fourth-straight game on the road in a relatively short matter of days. Riding a hot team at home against a road-weary opponent is a matchup worth looking into. This could be a perfect opportunity to lay the 1.5 goals on the home team in a very favorable puck-line bet.
The final tip is to find the most up-to-date injury report as possible. The NHL is very cryptic when it comes to listing injuries, so the main thing you need to know is if a key player is listed as “Out”. “Questionable” or “Day-to-Day” often means that a decision will not be made until game time. If this happens to pertain to a team’s starting goalie or its top scorer you might want to stay away from betting that game.